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Thread: Valve oil

  1. Valve oil

    Hi all,

    I'm currently using Hetman valve oil for light pistons.

    Gunk quickly forms in the instrument and occasionally causes the valves to stick on the way up.

    There is gunk hiding in the really hard to reach places (small tubing between 2nd and 3rd valve) and when I blow the gunk pops out and catches the piston. I found this out by taking the pistons out one at a time, blow through the tubing and looking down the empty valve casing.

    I need to do a thorough clean once a fortnight (getting my fingers right into all the holes in the piston casings) and it's not time I can afford (I'd rather be practicing!)

    I find most synthetic oil gunks up to a certain degree, but Hetman is the worst. I've heard that this doesn't happen to other people so I guess it must be something to do with my constitution.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for a fast valve oil that doesn't gunk up? (Or gunks up less)

  2. I had a similar problem when I bought my King 2280. I cleaned and oiled everyday. For other reasons, I had the King chemically cleaned. Now the valves work perfectly and I clean and oil once a week. I use Blue Juice. Valves have not stuck once.

    I think over time gunk builds up where you can get to it. I'm going to have the horn chemically cleaned whether it needs it or not once a year.

    KKORO

  3. #3
    This is a common occurrence with synthetic oils, especially Hetman's. The consensus is it has to do with your body chemistry. If you truly need a light oil, blue juice is the most recommended. The downside is you have to oil every time you play. That's good for the horn, but some find it annoying.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    A trumpet player friend of mine had recommended Hetman to me, and I was using it when I first bought my Mack Brass horn. I, too, had some gunk buildup. I switched to Blue Juice, and the gunk decreased to almost nothing. A few months ago, I tried Yamaha valve oil, and there's not only been no gunk buildup, but I've been able to go longer between re-oiling. YMMV.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1, Kadja, and DE 101XTG9 mouthpieces
    Bach 36B trombone; pBone; Vincent Bach (from 1971) 6.5AL mouthpiece
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo puppy) keep me company while practicing

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    West Palm Beach, FL
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    3,199
    Yep, I've been right there with you Superted. I used to swear by the synthetic valve oils. Hetman's was good for awhile, but noticed nasty yellow buildup so switched to Yamaha synthetic. This was better, but still there was a bit of build up. Then I thoroughly cleaned out my horn and switched to Blue Juice. The "aroma" reminds some folks of jet fuel, but it's not all that bad. The lubrication of Blue Juice works well AND, I feel like it helps keep the valves cleaner. I play a Miraphone 5050 which has vented valves (small 5/64" hole in valve opposite slide leg). These often got clogged up using any synthetic oils. The clogging no longer occurs when using Blue Juice. The bottle of Blue Juice is a bit bulky and the dispenser seems to release more oil than is necessary. Since I like to keep a bottle of valve oil in my pocket during rehearsals or concerts, I cleaned out and filled an old Yamaha (or Hetman) valve oil container with Blue Juice. These containers are flatter and not as bulky.

    For more information on this, see this discussion thread:
    "Switched to Blue Juice"

    Also, be sure to read this post on pg 3 of that thread by a member who happens to be a chemist (CEBunker). He explains why we may be experiencing build up when using synthetic oils:
    CEBunker post:

    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
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    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
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  6. Thank you so much for your replies.

    The biofilm explanation is fascinating to say the least.

    I've also tried Ultra Pure, Webster Ecolube and Tromba T2, all produced gunk to different levels.

    I'll give Blue Juice a go and see if I can stand the smell/taste...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Anderson, Indiana
    Posts
    224
    I have found the above discussion of valve oils spot on. Yamaha RVO causes less gunk that other synthetics, but I did eventually get some build up. (Avoid Yamaha Vintage if you have gunking problems as it is as bad or worse than other synthetic valve oils for gunk build up.) I recently switched to petroleum based Blue Juice after giving my instrument a good bath. While the gunk is less, it is still appearing in valve ports on on the bottom caps.
    Anyone have thoughts on this?

  8. #8
    I am using Yamaha Synthetic (Light). I get some gunk in my valves and tuning slides, but I like the action on my valves. Tried Blue Juice and it worked okay, but was pretty smelly. Had to use it a lot. Someone recently recommended I try something to cut down on gunk and bacteria. That person had done this with his trumpet for years after getting this advice from a pro. After every practice or rehearsal, take a small spray bottle filled with isopropyl alcohol and give a few squirts down the leadpipe, then blow hard through the leadpipe (don't suck!!). Valves up and down. I am trying that now. I don't think anything bad would happen by doing this and just maybe this well cut down on gunk and bacteria. Anyone think a few spray squirts of alcohol would be harmful in any way? Too soon to know if this does anything useful or not.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
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    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Anderson, Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    "Someone recently recommended I try something to cut down on gunk and bacteria. That person had done this with his trumpet for years after getting this advice from a pro. After every practice or rehearsal, take a small spray bottle filled with isopropyl alcohol and give a few squirts down the leadpipe, then blow hard through the leadpipe (don't suck!!). Valves up and down."


    Interesting concept. Please keep us informed of how this works. Of course, it would seem that alcohol, being a solvent, would negate the "long lasting" part of valve oils that claim to have superior staying qualities.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Anderson, Indiana
    Posts
    224
    Quote Originally Posted by KKORO View Post
    I had a similar problem when I bought my King 2280. I cleaned and oiled everyday. For other reasons, I had the King chemically cleaned. Now the valves work perfectly and I clean and oil once a week. I use Blue Juice. Valves have not stuck once.KKORO
    Can you please tell us how long ago you had your instrument chemically cleaned? It would be interesting to know how long before the gunk reappears.

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